2012 School News | School of Chemical Sciences

2012 School News

Flexible electronics imageThe Boston Globe featured an article highlighting the flexible circuit technology of MC10, a company co-founded by John Rogers. MC10 will soon be offering consumer electronic monitoring systems. Boston Globe article.
Nanofibers of metal oxide provide lots of highly reactive surface area for scrubbing sulfur compounds from fuel. Sulfur has to be removed because it emits toxic gasses and corrodes catalysts. Photo by Prashant Jain.Prashant Jain and fellow researchers are developing a nanofiber material that adsorbs harmful sulfur from fuels, is energy efficient and is not degraded by the process. Their work was published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology. UIUC News Bureau article.
Microscopic image of heat-sensitive microspheres designed to melt at elevated temperatures, shutting down a lithium ion battery in the event of overheating. Jeffrey Moore and colleagues are using their expertise in self-healing materials to develop lithium batteries that are less prone to catching fire. DOE article.
photos of Sharon Hammes-Schiffer and John RogersSharon Hammes-Schiffer and John Rogers have been named Swanlund Chairs. Hammes-Schiffer investigates proton electron and proton-coupled electron transfer reactions. The development of flexible formats for electronic devices is one of many active research areas for Rogers. UIUC News Bureau article.
photo of So Hirata and Philip PhillipsSo Hirata and Philip Phillps were honored by being named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. UIUC News Bureau article.
photo Kristin NuzzioKristin Nuzzio was one of 9 recipients nationally of an Eli Lilly Travel Award. She is a graduate student in the Rienstra group and uses NMR to investigate the structure of membrane proteins and protein conmplexes involved in blood coagulation. Chemistry article.
photo of Erik Juijten, Jing Yan, Steve Grancik and Sung Chul BaeSteve Granick and fellow researchers have developed materials that spontaneously self-assemble into dynamic, moving structures. Their work was published in Nature. UIUC News Bureau article.
Vincent Chan, Hyunjoon Kong, Rashid Bashir, and Kidong ParkHyunjoon Kong and collaborators have designed a bio-bot that moves using cells. The body is made of a hydrogel printed with a 3-D printer. It is thought that the bio-bots will be used as sensors, useful in various applications. Their research was published in Scientific Reports. UIUC News Bureau article, BBC article.
Image of ChBE undergraduates at AIChE annual student conferenceChbe undergraduates received awards at the annual AIChE student conference, as did ChBE graduate students at the national annual AIChE conference. ChBE undergraduate article, ChBE graduate student article, Chicago Tonight.
photo Daria KhvostichenkoDaria S. Khvostichenko (Kenis group) received the Best Poster Award at the 14th biannual International Conference on the Crystallization of Biological Macromolecules. The poster title was "A Microfluidic Platform for in meso Crystallization and Subsequent X-ray analysis of Membrane Proteins". ChBE article.
photo Douglas MitchellDouglas Mitchell is the recipient of one of sixteen 2012 Packard Fellowship in Science and Engineering Awards. Mitchell received the award to further his research in the biosynthesis of polyheterocyclic natural products, useful in the production of new classes of antibiotics. UIUC News Bureau article.
photo of Yelena IllinYelena Ilin (Kraft research group), was awarded the 2012 FACSS Student Poster Award for her poster, titled "Single Cell Identification via Raman Microscopy and Multivariate Analysis," which she presented on October 1 at the SciX 2012 conference. ChBE article.
photo Klaus SchultenKlaus Schulten is a recipient of the 2012 IEEE Computer Society Sidney Fernback Award for oustanding contributions to the development of widely used software for large biomolecular systems simulation.
photo Sharon Hammes-SchifferTheoretical and physical chemist, Sharon Hammes-Schiffer, was one of seven chemists, nationally, elected a 2012 member of the American Academy for Arts and Sciences. UIUC News Bureau article.
photo Erica PetersonA 2012 Donald F. Othmer Sophomore Academic Excellence Award was awarded to ChBE sophomore Erica Peterson to attend the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) annual student conference. The award is given to students who have maintained the highest scholastic standing in their chapter. ChBE article.
transient electronics imageJohn Rogers and collaborators have developed "transient electronics" for short term medical and other use. These devices can be used then will harmlessly degrade into the body or the environment. Their research was published in Science. UIUC News Bureau article, RSC Chemistry World article, ABC Science article.
photo of Klaus SchultenKlaus Schulten, Ilia Solov'yov and Po-Yao Chang produced a study that supports the theory that our noses can distinguish both the shape and the vibrational characteristics of odorant molecules. Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics published their research. UIUC News Bureau article, Chemical Physics journal article.
photos of Junqi Li and Maxim Prigozhin Graduate students Junqi Li (Burke group) and Maxim Prigozhin (Gruebele group) have been awarded prestigious Howard Hughes Medical Institute, International Student Research Fellowships. UIUC News Bureau article, HHMI article.
photo of Wilfred van der Donk and William MetcalfThe mystery of ocean methane production was solved by Wilfred van der Donk, William Metcalf, and colleagues. The scientists discovered an aerobic microbe that produces a precursor molecule for metabolism to methane. Their research was published in the journal Science. C&EN article, RSC Chemistry World article, UIUC News Bureau article.
photo of Jonathan SweedlerJonathan Sweedler is part of a research team that is changing the paradigm about the relationship between metabolism, circadian rhythms and brain function. They report their findings in the journal Science, which also wrote a Perspective on the research. UIUC News Bureau article.
photo of Vera MainzVera Mainz, retired director of the SCS NMR Lab, was one of 96 scientists nationally named as 2012 American Chemical Society Fellows. She was honored for her contributions in assisting and educating over 3000 young researchers, her leadership of a world class NMR lab, and for her long service to the ACS. ACS info.
photo of electronic flexible suturesJohn Rogers has invented smart electronic sutures that can measure the temperature of wounds, then deliver heat to expedite healing if needed. MIT Technology Review article.
Jain Prashant and Ryan Bailey Both Ryan Bailey and Prashant Jain have been named as among the "top 35 innovators under the age of 35" for 2012 by the the MIT Technology Review magazine. Jain was cited for tuning nanocrystals to make tinier, more efficient switches for optical computing and solar panels and Bailey for shining a light on faster, cheaper, more accurate medical tests. Bailey TR article, and Jain TR article, UIUC News Bureau article.
photo Jain PrashantPrashant Jain has been named one of seven researchers at UIUC to receive an Institute for Advanced Computing Applications and Technologies (IACAT) Fellowship. Dept. of Chemistry article.
photo Steve Granick Steve Granick to receive the 2013 American Chemical Society National Award in Colloid and Surface Chemistry. ChBE article.
University of Illinois chemists found that DNA can shape gold nanoparticle growth similarly to the way it shapes protein synthesis, with different letters of the genetic code producing gold circles, stars and hexagons. Graphic by Li Huey Tan, Zidong Wang and Yi LuYi Lu and collaborators have discovered "genetic codes" for abiological nanoparticles, a breakthrough in nano-biotechnology. Lu says that the fined-tuned shapes of nanoparticles influence by different DNA sequences could find use in sensing, imaging and catalysis RSC Chemistry World article, C&EN article, UIUC News Bureau article.
Microscope probe sharpening process photoGregory Girolami is a member of the interdisciplinary team that developed long lasting, high resolution probes for STM or AFM microscopes. Their research was recently published in Nature Communications and they have set-up a company called Tiptek to manufacture the probes. UIUC News Bureau article.
photo Charles Schroeder Charles Schroeder has been selected to participate in the NAE's 18th annual U.S. Frontiers of Engineering Symposium. His research areas are super-resolution microscopy and the study of retroviral budding and viral assembly. ChBE article.
photo Christopher RaoChristopher Rao is the recepient of the 2012 Outstanding Young Research Award from the Computing and Systems Technology (CAST) Division of the AIChE. He is being recognized for "contributions to control theory and multi-scale simulation and their application to biological systems". ChBE article.
An origami sensor is printed on a single piece of paper, folded into a three-dimensional fluidic device, and encapsulated by thermal lamination. Aptamer is trapped in the fluidic channel, where it binds to the target and releases an enzyme to generate a signal. The device is read out using a digital multimeterIn collaboration with researchers from the University of Texas, the Yi Lu research group is developing biosensors involving aptamers that can be printed on paper, folded, laminated and read with only a voltmeter. Their inventive research was published in Angewandte Chemie.
photo Catherine MurphyCatherine Murphy and co-researchers are developing methods to use gold nanorods wrapped in polymer layers to deliver drugs in an efficient manner with activation by infrared irradiation. The local destruction of cancer cells is also a possibility for its use. The current work is detailed in Nano Letters. nanotechweb.org article.
The Department of Mathematics, Department of Chemistry, and the School of Integrative Biology are thrilled to announce the start of the Merit Fellows Scholarship Program this upcoming academic year! The program (funded by the NSF) will provide substantial financial support for academically talented but financially needy Merit students majoring in mathematics, chemistry, or integrative biology. More information, Merit Program.
Designed oxidase reduces oxygen to water with more than 1,000 turnovers. Active-site side chains, including a key tyrosine (mostly green) and histidine (to its left), are shown in stick representation. Credit: Courtesy of Arnab Mukherjee, Kyle D. Miner & Yi LuYi Lu and international collaborators have developed artificial oxidases with high efficiency and high turnover rates for non-natural catalysts. In addition, the new catalysts generate only limited quantities of reactive oxygen species that are detrimental to biomolecules and fuel cell components. Their research furthers the understanding of natural catalysts and may help in the design of metalloproteins. C&EN article.
photo Jennifer Lewis Jennifer Lewis has been honored for her distinguished research in directed assembly of soft functional materials by being named a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. UIUC News Bureau article.
Xiang and Lu’s antibody sandwich assay is one of two approaches they developed to allow commercial meters to quantitate proteins and other analytes. Yi Lu and Yu Xiang improved their detectors, adding an antibody-based strategy to considerably widen the range of targets the personal glucose meters are able to detect. With support from the National Science Foundation's Innovation Corps, Lu has founded another company, GlucoSentient, that will commercialize glucose-meter-based tests for nonglucose analytes. C&EN article.
photo of Huimin Zhao Huimin Zhao was awarded a 2012 Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship. Zhao plans to use the award to "support ongoing efforts in developing new synthetic biology tools for discovery of novel bioactive natural products for treatment of human diseases". UIUC News Bureau article.
Illinois chemists – Wilfred van der Donk and graduate students Weixin Tan, left, and Neha GargGenome mining for improved analogs of the commercial food preservative nisin resulted in the discovery of geobacillin in the research group of Wilfred van der Donk. This compound is produced by a thermophilic bacterium and has better stability than nisin, which is also used to treat bovine mastitis. UIUC News Bureau article.
photo of person breathing into cancer detecting diagnostic toolMetabolomx, the startup company co-founded by Kenneth Suslick, is developing a diagnostic tool for the detection of lung cancer. The machine analyzes the breath of a patient for its volatile organic compounds and can detect lung cancer > 80% of the time. This project is derived from research initiated in the Suslick lab. Bloomberg Businessweek article.
 Photo by  L. Brian Stauffer  University of Illinois chemistry professor Eric Oldfield (second from left) and colleagues (from left) graduate assistant Wei Zhu, graduate student Xinxin Feng and research scientist Yonghui Zhang found that a modified bone drug killed the malaria parasite in mice. Photo by  L. Brian Stauffer  University of Illinois chemistry professor Eric Oldfield (second from left) and colleagues (from left) graduate assistant Wei Zhu, graduate student Xinxin Feng and research scientist Yonghui Zhang found that a modified bone drug killed the malaria parasite in mice.Eric Oldfield's research group successfully screened about 1000 chemically modified compounds, searching for one that crosses cell membranes, works at low concentrations and causes the death of the malaria parasite without harming the host. The new drug, BPH-703, inhibits isoprenoid biosynthesis in the parasite. Their study is published in the the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. UIUC News Bureau article.
Semprius solar panelSemprius, a startup using the technology developed by John Rogers, makes solar panels able to convert one-third of the sunlight they receive into electricity. They are the most efficient so far, twice as efficient as the average panel, and do not require cooling. MIT Technology Review article.
photo of Tim Fan and Paul HergenrotherA new drug development startup, Vanquish Oncology, focuses on small molecule compounds developed by Paul Hergenrother. These compounds may be used to kill cancer cells through targeting the enzyme procaspase-3. Vanquish will develop standalone cancer therapies in addition to drugs to be used in combination with other chemotherapy drugs.
Illinois chemists discovered that a powerful treatment for fungal infections doesn’t work the way doctors have assumed, setting a new course for drug development. The researchers, led by chemistry professor Martin Burke, right, are, from left, graduate students Ian Dailey, Matthew Endo, Brandon Wilcock, Brice Uno and, not pictured, Kaitlyn Gray and Daniel Palacios. The Martin Burke research group has determined the antifungal mechanism of amphotericin B. Amphotericin is fairly toxic to humans and this finding will help scientists to synthesize less toxic antibiotics. UIUC News Bureau article.
photo Marinda Wu, upcoming ACS presidentAlumna, Dr. Marinda P. Wu (Ph.D. '76, Drago) has been chosen to be president of the the American Chemical Society. The founder and president of Science is Fun! in Orinda, Calif., Dr. Wu will serve as ACS president-elect for 2012. C&EN article.
Reactive silver ink is airbrushed onto a thin, stretchy plastic film to make a flexible silver electrode.Jennifer Lewis and S. Brett Walker have developed a new reactive silver ink for printing high-performance electronics on low-cost materials such as flexible plastic, paper or fabric substrates. They published their research online in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. UIUC News Bureau article.
photo of John RogersJohn Rogers was named one of Nature magazine's "10 who mattered this year" for taking innovative ideas to engineering prototypes. College of Engineering article, PNAS interview.
SCS News — 2011

School of Chemical Sciences
106 Noyes Lab
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Professor Jonathan Sweedler

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